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Central Asia and South Caucasus Affairs: 2006
Central Asia and South Caucasus Affairs: 2006
 
Regional Security Issues: 2006
Regional Security Issues: 2006
 
Between the Black and Caspian Seas: New Challenges and Opportunities for the South Caucasus
Between the Black and Caspian Seas: New Challenges and Opportunities for the South Caucasus
 
 
Regional Security Issues
Regional Security Issues
 
The South Caucasus as a Part of the Wider Europe
The South Caucasus as a Part of the Wider Europe
 
Terrorism in Afghanistan   Last Updated ( Saturday, 09 September 2006 )

On the 29th of August, 2006 a seminar on “Terrorism and Civilization” was organized by the International Centre Goa in Dona Paula, Goa, as part of its new initiative called the “Goa Dialogues”. The seminar addressed the threats of communalism, terrorism and other forms of political violence to the stability and social harmony of the world and of Goa in particular. The ICG  invited a distinguished panel of local and foreign experts to discuss these issues. The discourse allowed participants to exchange views on the experiences of such violence in India and outside India.

One paper addressed the issue of terrorism in Afghanistan. This was presented by Hekmat Karzai, Director of the newly established Centre for Conflict and Peace Study (CAPS), Kabul, Afghanistan. His presentation was divided into three parts:

  •   Emergence of modern terrorism in Afghanistan
  •   Developments after 9/11
  •   Recommendations about possible solutions to the menace of terrorism

H Karzai first gave a historical overview of the tragic events in Afghanistan which led to the emergence of terrorism in his country. The Soviet invasion on December 25, 1979 can be considered as the starting point of almost three decades of conflicts and instability. Calls for Islamic jihad followed the invasion. After the final troop withdrawal on February 15, 1989, the country was left in a devastated position. Its social indicators were of tragic dimensions: devastation of the economy, brutalization of a people known for their warmth and hospitality, and about 7 Afghan million refugees, some of whom were later trained in Pakistani madrasas and learned the ideology of hate. Fighting continued among the various Mujahideen factions, eventually giving rise to a state of warlordism. The chaos and corruption that dominated post-Soviet Afghanistan in turn spawned the rise of the Taliban in response to the growing chaos. Backed by the United States, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other strategic allies, the Taliban developed as a politico-religious force, and eventually seized power in 1996. The Taliban were able to capture 90% of the country. The Taliban sought to impose a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law and gave safe haven and assistance to individuals and organizations that were implicated as terrorists, most notably Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network.

This historical excursion was followed by a description of the current situation or the post 9/11 situation in Afghanistan. Mr Karzai pointed out the developments in the region including construction of schools, drafting of an Afghan constitution, presidential and parliamentary elections, etc. However he emphasized the continuing threat of terrorism and daily terror attacks executed in Afghanistan. These attacks are mostly aimed at foreigners, NGOs, etc,  in order to instil fear and to scare the international community out of Afghanistan. In July 2006 alone there were a total of 85 attacks resulting in 345 dead and 278 injured, including a large number of civilians.

Mr Karzai then outlined possible reasons for the continuation of the conflict in Afghanistan and the inability to effectively resist the terrorism threat. The lack of  understanding by the multinational forces of the culture and sensitivities of Afghan collective society has often resulted in religious backlashes. In spite of the presence of many governments and of over 3000 NGOs in Kabul the pace of reconstruction has been very slow. The NGOs and other international agencies including the multinational security forces have also been criticised for concentrating their activities in Kabul and not paying enough attention to other provinces which are really in need of aid. The Afghan security apparatus is not on the level to defend itself and requires time to reach particular standards to be able to meet the needs of Afghanistan.
Mr Karzai suggested that in order for the conflict to end the root cause – the poverty of  the people and the backwardness of the economy- should be seriously addressed if the menace of terrorism is to be removed from the country. He called for a political solution and not a military one. The support of the people is most crucial if the struggle against terrorism is to succeed.